I took this last week off to try to catch up on sleep and a few odd jobs. My main project is the construction of a new mini-office space, as my current office does double duty as Polly’s bedroom and it’s just a bit awkward to juggle that. If all goes to plan, she will have her own room (nursery?) soon, and I’ll be commuting to work by walking downstairs (exercise!).
So far it’s not much to look at, but at least I finally made some tangible progress today, putting up a frame and hanging the door.
All that crap on the other side of the wall frame is where my new office will ultimately be (in theory by Monday!). On the near side of the wall will be the now-truncated rumpus room, where visiting nieces will continue to be welcome to play Lego Batman on Xbox and scatter corn chips about.
This is my first ever wall building project, and a truly vast amount of my time and energy this week has gone into making plans, visiting the hardware store, and then totally changing my mind. It was originally to be a classic stud wall with gyprock cladding (drywall), but kind of morphed as I thought about the different materials involved and how little I was into the idea of plastering and painting, so now it’s going to be a semi-permanent wall using doors as panelling instead of plasterboard. This should make it stronger and easier to remove if/when it’s no longer needed, while giving the whole thing a retro minimal vibe from outside.
Although the idea of an office with no actual windows might seem like a really bad idea, even when I do have a window in my office I always end up leaving the blinds closed anyway, so I’m treating the absence of natural light as a challenge to be solved with various flavours of LED trickery. I may even attempt something like a fake window effect, but that’s probably a project for some other weekend. (Adequate ventilation on the other hand is something I need to finalise before I start working in there.)
Worst case scenario: it turns out to be a terrible space to work and so we just use it as a store room, so my efforts aren’t completely in vain.
Polly is 6 months old now. Jolly and chubby, a little sooky, and we still love her to bits! I keep meaning to write at length about my experience as a new dad, but it’s all going by so fast I feel like by the time I compose something coherent it will be out of date. Too busy doing it to write about it, basically :-/
Created by a friend, an iOS game which is both simple and hard, and visually beautiful.
So, sorry the blog is practically dead, been a bit busy hanging out with Bubs. The only reason I’ve somehow found time to post this is that I’m supposed to be getting my damn tax sorted out.
And as you can see I’m doing a great job keeping in shape too!
Polly is doing great, she’s frikkin huge at over 9kg, and she’s probably teething but we haven’t actually seen any teeth yet; only copious drooling and frantic gnawing behaviours as well as some rather grumpy faces.
We took her to the doctor for some 4 month jabs on Friday, which she did not much enjoy, but on the whole she dealt with the ordeal reasonably well. She had her first official weigh-in for a while and measured just shy of 8.4 kg, which means she’s as well nourished as ever (length 66cm).
She has grown quite fond of her dummy (pacifier) and loves to scrunch and manipulate stuff. She is not quite rolling over yet but we are expecting her to work it out any day, as she is certainly making more of an effort to move herself around. She is becoming like an owl in that she seems to be able to swivel her head a crazy amount to see what’s going on behind her, and (coincidentally?) she also has razor sharp talons that grow faster than bamboo and a remarkable bite force for someone with no teeth.
From the many computer keyboards kicking around my office, here are closeups depicting the most common arrangements of Function and modifier keys:
This unwanted variety in layout (and function) drives me nuts. It slows my typing, as I have to work harder to make sure I’m hitting the right key when copy-pasting, application switching etc.
- When Microsoft decided to add the Windows key to the standard PC keyboard, they idiotically put it between the Ctrl and Alt keys, so it wasn’t consistent with the already established convention of Apple’s command key (which in early days was also labelled as the Apple key)
- Most manufacturers, when faced with the need for yet another modifier key (especially on compact keyboards), further cluttered the lower left key area with a Fn key. Again idiotically, Apple and Microsoft failed to standardize on the location of this, so on Apple keyboards Fn is the first key whereas with Windows keyboards it is the second.
- On Windows, common hotkeys for manipulating text are all based on the control key, whereas on Mac they use the Command key (which didn’t have an analog on PC keyboards until the the Windows key was added, in the wrong place). Note the control key and the command keys are in very different places, so the finger positions are very different for common operations.
- The Windows key is DUMB. It’s primary purpose is [was] to open the Windows start menu. It’s also a modifier key, but I’m guessing not widely used as such (every now and then I hit Windows-E to launch Explorer, just to remind myself I can). Also it doesn’t even have a symbol I can type, because Microsoft decided to brand it with the goddamn Windows logo. At least Apple’s command key has an actual glyph that can be typed (⌘) and isn’t in and of itself a trademark.
Special credit goes to the refreshingly simple key layout to be found on Google’s Chromebooks, which actually dispenses entirely with the Command/Windows key and the Fn key.
I really kind of love what they’ve done here; it’s like Google looked at existing layouts and said “Wait a sec, why do we need so many modifier keys anyway? And what’s the deal with the caps-lock key? Why such prominent placement for a key that is almost never used?”
Bravo Google for a bold design choice. Boo Apple and Microsoft for not sorting your shit out and saving everyone a lot of time and typing mistakes.
Putting myself on notice again, re my general health.
Weight: 100 kg
Blood Pressure: 150/100
I’d like to still be around to see Polly become the first astronaut to win a Nobel Prize.
- She tries to grab toys and try to stuff them in her mouth, although she’s not very good at it yet. She can grab her feet, but she’s far too chubby to get them anywhere near her mouth.
- She can sleep for longer and go longer between feeds (but doesn’t seem to like sticking to a routine) and she needs changing less frequently (blessed relief)
- She’s been sucking her thumb for a while now, which means she can sometimes self-soothe and go back to sleep.
- Just recently she’s taken to slobbering all over anything she can get near her face, so her hands are covered in spit.
- She likes the TV (doesn’t really matter what’s on), although we don’t let her watch it too much as she goes all glazed and non-blinky.
- She’s shy around groups of strange people, but very chatty when just with her mum or dad. Her vocabulary is still mostly goos and gahs though.
- She likes being able to see us whenever she’s awake.
- I actually felt angry at her tonight, as I was trying to cook dinner and every time I stopped paying attention to her she would instantly start howling. Fortunately she is a cute baby and smells great so I quickly forgave her.
Polly now often sleeps for 4 hours or more when we put her to bed, which is nice. She still tends to be restless from 3AM onwards, but at least we get a bit of quality quiet time now. When awake she engages in lots of eye contact, chuckling, and vague burbling ‘conversations’, all of which are hugely adorable.
She’s about 6.5 kg now, and has now outgrown her 000-size clothing (baby clothing sizes here from newborn are 0000, 000, 00, 0).
Polly is 6 weeks old today, and doing fine. She is over 6kg now, and certainly seems significantly bigger, able to touch both sides of the her cot with arms spread out (and we had initially been looking at this cot and thinking it was unnecessarily large). She mumbles and grunts constantly (especially in her sleep) and is starting to smile quite a bit, and even have a giggle now and then. And man she can fart like nobody’s business.
Lately all our baby change crap has accumulated on (what was until recently) the dining table, and this ain’t great long term because a) it would be nice to have a table to eat at again, b) we don’t want to sacrifice more space than is necessary for infant maintenance, and c) it’s far from the bedroom and will be hard to keep warm in the wee hours as winter rolls around.
So I’m making this changing table, to be placed in our small second bathroom, which will become the baby change room. It’s made from scraps of pine from old bed bases and MDF from a built-in wardrobe I tore out of our second bedroom in order to create enough space to turn around.
When you’re a computer programmer, it can be very satisfying to actually work on something real, made out of an actual tangible material and capable of continuing to exist even if the power goes out. I really enjoy trying to work out how to make stuff (and learning from my mistakes). Even better to finally recycle some of that crap I have a tendency to collect thinking “I might find a use for that one day!”
Update: We’ve been using it for the last week, and it’s working out pretty well. Also it’s great to have access to the dining table again!
I made one of these last week, and enjoyed it so much I made another one today.
Something of a staple in New Zealand coffee shops, Bacon and Egg Pie is a dish that is so obviously great (it’s bacon and eggs in a pie for chrissakes!) it’s a wonder it isn’t eaten everywhere. In Australia the quiche has always been a big thing, but you have to do so much just to make it not seem like the most boring thing at the picnic. Somehow we forgot about bacon!
This one pictured was made with mushrooms and onions as well, and if anything was too complicated. I recall buying slices in Auckland with nothing but egg and bacon evident inside (and often about 3 inches thick) and being perfectly satisfied.
Serve with tomato relish/chutney. Try it, you won’t regret it.
I made some time over the weekend to start on a job I’ve been planning for yonks; to turn a heavy old wardrobe into a coffee table. The one we’ve been using was a horrible particleboard piece of crap.
This is my first pass, and it took me many hours (largely to work out how to correctly use a circular saw). Next step is to add another shelf (can never have enough storage for envelopes and tissue boxes) and improve the overall finish.
And in other DIY news, a quick and low cost fix to my shiny white desk was to add this PVC contact sheet to give an optical mouse something to track on, as I needed to set up an extra workspace with a Windows machine. Someone should invent a breathable version of this material, as I spent much much longer getting the [largest] air bubbles out of it than I did applying it in the first place.
Note that pictured here is an exceedingly rare example of a Late 2009 model iMac running in Target Display Mode, connected to the Windows laptop on the right via a DisplayPort->MiniDisplayPort cable. Even though I knew it *should* work, I was still genuinely (and pleasantly) surprised that it did. To toggle the display between the two systems I just have to press Cmd-F2 on the iMac keyboard. (The reason I am using a separate Windows machine is that my work requires it for security purposes)